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Sanctity Of Life Prayer Service


The clergy gather in another room and process Into the Church as the Choir sings

(Tone 4) The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want; He maketh me lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters; He restoreth my soul. He leadeth me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies; Thou anointest my head with oil, my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (repeat as necessary)

The clergy line up along the sides of the center aisle. :

Deacon: Bless, master.

Priest: (Bishop) Glory to the Holy, Consubstantial, Life-giving, and Undivided Trinity; always now and ever and unto ages of ages.

Reader: Amen. Glory to Thee, our God, glory to Thee.

Choir: O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere and fillest all things, Treasury of blessings and Giver of life, come and abide in us, and cleanse us of every infirmity, and save our souls, O Good One.

Reader: Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us. (3x) Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. Lord, cleanse us from our sins. Master, pardon our transgressions. O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities for Thy name's sake. Lord, have mercy. (3x) Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

All: Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Priest: For Thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory: of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.

Reader: Amen. Lord, have mercy. (12x) Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O come let us worship God our King. O come let us worship and. fall down before Christ our King and God. O come let us worship and fall down before Christ Himself, our King and God.

Psalm 10

Why dost Thou stand afar off, O LORD? Why dost Thou hide thyself in times of trouble? In arrogance the wicked hotly pursue the poor; let them be caught in the schemes which they have devised. For the wicked boasts of the desires of his heart, and the man greedy for gain curses and renounces the LORD. In the pride of his countenance the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, "There is no God." His ways prosper at all times; Thy judgments are on high, out of his sight; as for all his foes, he puffs at them. He thinks in his heart, "I shall not be moved; throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity." His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression; under his tongue are mischief and iniquity. He sits in ambush in the villages; in hiding places he murders the innocent. His eyes stealthily watch for the hapless, he lurks in secret like a lion in his covert; he lurks that he may seize the poor, he seizes the poor when he draws him into his net. The hapless is crushed, sinks down, and falls by his might. He thinks in his heart, "God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it." Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up Thy hand; forget not the afflicted. Why does the wicked renounce God, and say in his heart, "Thou wilt not call to account"? Thou dost see; yea, Thou dost note trouble and vexation, that Thou mayest take it into Thy hands; the hapless commits himself to Thee; Thou hast been the helper of the fatherless. Break Thou the arm of the wicked and evildoer; seek out his wickedness till Thou find none. The LORD is king for ever and ever; the nations shall perish from his land. O LORD, Thou wilt hear the desire of the meek; Thou wilt strengthen their heart, Thou wilt incline Thy ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. Glory to Thee, O God. (3x)

Deacon: In the 2nd Tone, God is the Lord, and has revealed Himself to us. Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endures for ever.

Choir: God is the Lord, and has revealed Himself to us. Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.

Deacon: All nations surrounded me but in the Name of the Lord I withstood them.

Choir: God is the Lord, and has revealed Himself to us. Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.

Deacon: I shall not die, but live, and recount the deeds of the Lord.

Choir: God is the Lord, and has revealed Himself to us. Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.

Deacon: The stone which the builders rejected, has become the head of the corner. This is the Lord's doing, and it is wonderful in our eyes.

Choir: God is the Lord, and has revealed Himself to us. Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.

The senior Priest now censes around the Icon three times, concluding with a censing of the people from in front of the Icon.

O Lord the Creator and Giver of Life, In Thine inexhaustible love Thou didst fashion us and give us the sacred gift of life. And when we had corrupted Thy gift Thou didst take on human flesh to restore our humanity. Like wise O Savior remind Thy people darkened by ignorance that in all ages,// every child that opens the womb is sacred to God. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O Theotokos joy of creation; your parents though advanced in years had only begun to fulfill their ordained role in our salvation. For despite old age they bore you and reared you in righteousness, preparing you to be the one through whom Christ restored our humanity// O most glorious Mother of Life.

Deacon: Let us attend .

Priest: Peace be unto all!

Reader: And to thy spirit.

Deacon: Wisdom!

Reader: The Prokeimenon in the 4th Tone: O Lord, we will walk in the light of Thy countenance and exult in Thy Name forever.

Choir: O Lord, we will walk in the light of Thy Countenance and exult in Thy Name forever.

Reader: I will sing of Thy mercy, O Lord, forever; with my mouth I will proclaim Thy faithfulness to all generations.

Choir: O Lord, we will walk in the light of Thy Countenance and exult in Thy Name forever.

Reader: O Lord, we will walk in the light of Thy countenance.

Choir: And exult in Thy Name forever.

Deacon: Wisdom!

EPISTLE

Reader: The Reading from the Epistle of the Holy Apostle Paul to the Philippians. (Phil. 2:12-16).

Deacon: Let us attend .

Reader: Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.

Priest: Peace be unto you reader.

Reader: And to thy spirit. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Choir: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia

Reader: Yea, the work of our hands, establish Thou it.

Choir: Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia

Deacon: And that we may be accounted worthy of hearing the Holy Gospel, let us pray to the Lord God.

Choir: Lord, have mercy. (3x)

Deacon: Wisdom, Let us attend! Let us listen to the Holy Gospel.

Priest: Peace be unto all.

Choir: And to your spirit.

Priest: The reading from the Holy Gospel according to Saint Matthew.

(composite on Matthew)

Choir: Glory to Thee, O Lord, glory to Thee.

Deacon: Let us attend.

The Deacon brings the Gospel to the Priest (as arranged by the Priests)

GOSPEL

Priest: At that time, Jesus, seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: "You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men. "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. "Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, "When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the King will say to those at his right hand, `Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when did we see Thee hungry and feed Thee, or thirsty and give Thee drink? And when did we see Thee a stranger and welcome Thee, or naked and clothe Thee? And when did we see Thee sick or in prison and visit Thee?' And the King will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.' Then he will say to those at his left hand, `Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' Then they also will answer, `Lord, when did we see Thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to Thee?' Then he will answer them, `Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.' And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

Choir: Glory to Thee, O Lord, glory to Thee.

The Gospel is presented to each Bishop to kiss, and returned to the Altar Table

Choir: It is truly meet to bless you, O Theotokos, ever-blessed and most pure, and the Mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim, without defilement you gave birth to God the Word, true Theotokos, we magnify you.

Augmented Litany

The Bishops are escorted in front of the Icon.

Deacon: Have mercy on us, O God, according to Thy great goodness, we entreat Thee, hearken us and have mercy.

Choir: Lord, have mercy. (3x)

Deacon: Again we pray for (jurisdictional Bishop[s]), and all the Orthodox Episcopate, for priests, deacons, and all other clergy and for all our brethren in Christ.

Choir: Lord, have mercy. (3x)

Deacon: Again we pray for the President of our country, for all civil authorities, for our armed forces everywhere. That Thou wilt enlighten our elected officials that they will repeal all laws which deny the Truth, that all life is a sacred gift from Thee. Thou Who alone art the Creator of all, we entreat Thee, hearken and have mercy.

Choir: Lord, have mercy. (3x)

Deacon: Again we pray for mercy, life, peace, health, salvation, and visitation for the servants of God who strive to restore the knowledge that all Life is a sacred gift from Thee; and also for those who suffer from terminal illnesses and debilitating diseases, the elderly, the institutionalized, and those incarcerated, and for the pardon and remission of their sins.

Choir: Lord, have mercy. (3x)

Deacon: Again we pray that Thou wilt kindle in our hearts the will to do good, to visit the sick, counsel the incarcerated, comfort the distraught, strengthen the faint-hearted, care for the elderly and infirm, support and aid those confronted with the possibility of euthanasia, assisted suicide, suicide or abortion; that we may show ourselves to be truly Thy disciples.

Choir: Lord, have mercy. (3x)

Deacon: Again we pray for the faithful here present and for all those absent for honorable reasons, who await from Thee Thy great and abundant mercy.

Choir: Lord, have mercy. (3x)

Priest: Hear us, O God our Savior, the hope of all those at the ends of the earth and of those far off upon the sea and in the air, and show mercy. Show mercy upon us sinners, O Master, and be merciful to us. For Thou art a Merciful God, who loves mankind, and unto Thee do we ascribe glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages.

Choir: Amen.

Deacon: Let us pray to the Lord.

Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Priest (Bishop): O Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of the Father; Who took on our Human nature to restore its sanctity. Do the same Lord, enlighten Your people here present and throughout the world, with the knowledge that all life is a sacred gift from You, from the instant of conception, to the natural last breath. Dispel from our minds the subjective concept of quality of life, and implant the objective truth of its preciousness. When we consider abortion, remind us that You were conceived and grew in Your mother's womb. When we consider euthanasia or assisted suicide, call to mind the leper, the paralytic, and Your friend Lazarus, and how Your great mercy and might were revealed through their suffering. When we consider the elderly, call to mind Simeon and Anna the Prophetess who proclaimed You to the world before the Forerunner; and Your grandparents Joachim and Anna, who bore and reared Your most pure mother, and instill in us the example of Ruth in her care of and humble service to her widowed mother-in-law Na’omi. When we consider, criminals to be executed, call to mind not only the Wise Thief, but also that Your were executed though You were beyond innocence. When confronted with the possibility of suicide, remind us of Judas, who by his hopeless and desperate act, forfeited the forgiveness given a repentant Peter, even after he had denied Your accusers three times. As at the tower of Babel, and in the wilderness of Sinai, have we Your people lost sight of Your Truth, but restore us in Your mercy O Lord. Make us instruments of Your Will, that by Your loving example, we may lead our misguided brethren to You, unworthy as we are. Dispel also from us, self-righteousness and narrow-mindedness like that of the Pharisees who challenged Your good works; as well as over zealousness and the urge to commit rash acts like Peter, who in attempting to preserve Your life, endangered that of the chief priest’s servant. For You saved us, not by summoning twelve legions of angels, but by healing the ear of the chief priest's servant and teaching and adjuring the people in love, even from the Cross. Grant this, we entreat You, O You who love mankind, for You alone are the Creator and Master of all, and to You do we ascribe glory, together with Your unoriginate Father and Your All-holy, good and life-creating Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages.

Choir: Amen.

The Priest/ Bishop now censes the Icon from the front 9x; then turns and censes the people.

Megalynarion (Tone 6)

O Gracious Lord and Creator of All, Who for our sakes wast conceived and born of the Virgin; grant eternal rest and Thy mercy to those ujustly put to death both born and unborn; enlighten those who in ignorance choose death over life; and teach all Thy people to respect all forms of Life, for it is our most sacred and precious gift from Thee,// the Author of Life and Savior of our souls.

Dismissal

Deacon: Wisdom!

Priest (Bishop): Most holy Theotokos, save us!

Choir: More honorable than the Cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim, without defilement you gave birth to God the Word, true Theotokos, we magnify you.

Priest (Bishop): Glory to Thee, O Christ our God, our hope, glory to Thee.

Choir: Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen. Lord, have mercy. (3x). Father [Master], bless.

Priest:(Bishop): May Christ our true God, Who became man that He might restore our humanity, through the intercessions of His most pure Mother our Lady the Theotokos and ever Virgin Mary; by the power of the Thy precious and Life-giving Cross; through the prayers of our holy and God-bearing fathers, of the righteous Simeon the Elder and Anna the Prophetess, of the Holy Innocents, of the Wise Thief, of the Holy Unmercenaries, of [local parish]; of the Holy and Righteous ancestors of God Joachim and Anna, of [saints commemorated that day] and of all the saints, have mercy on us and save us, for He is good and the Lover of mankind.

Choir: Amen. [Eis polla eti Dhespota!]

Deacon: Grant eternal rest in blessed repose O Lord, to the victims of abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, or capital punishment, and all those who ended their lives destitute and neglected, and make their memories to be eternal.

Choir: Memory eternal. (3x) [Greek/ Antiochian: May their memory be eternal

Deacon: Grant O Lord a prosperous and peaceful life, health, salvation, furtherance in all good things, to all those who strive to restore the acknowledgment that all life is sacred, especially the care givers, adoptive and foster parents, and all good Samaritans, and preserve them for many years,

Choir: God grant them many years. (3x)

Priest: All those confronted with the prospect of abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, capital punishment; those suffering from terminal illnesses and debilitating diseases, those on death row; and those caring for them, their families and friends; may the Lord God remember them in His Kingdom, always now and ever and unto ages of ages. Choir: Amen. Lord have mercy (3x)

Homily may be preached here

PRAYER FOR THE SANCTITY OF LIFE SUNDAY

All Recite:

O Christ our God, You are the One Who both gives and wills the protection of all life. By word and by deed, You have taught us to treat all life as sacred, with the utmost care and compassion for every human being, of every race, nation and faith, of every walk and way of life, those born and unborn alike.

Seeking to fulfill this teaching as Your followers, we turn to You in fervent prayer on this "Sanctity of Life Sunday." O God, Who knows each of us from our mother's womb, protect the fragile lives of our unborn little brothers and sisters, granting blessed repose to those whose tiny lives were terminated, as well as repentance and forgiveness to those who have participated in their termination.

You Who suffered as a prisoner on death-row before Your awesome Passion, protect those presently on death row, granting blessed repose to those whose lives were terminated by the State, and repentance and forgiveness to all who have participated in capital punishment.

You Who proclaimed that "whoever lives by the sword shall also die by the sword," grant that we may soon know an end to all violence, bloodshed and desecration of human life. Instill a sense of life's sanctity in all who foment war abroad and who bring violence to our streets at home. Grant protection to our Armed Forces, and to all peoples both here and abroad. Grant blessed repose to those who have perished in acts of war and terror and street violence, as well as repentance and forgiveness to those who have participated in such bloodshed.

O Life-Giving Christ, the Prince of Peace, through the intercessions off our Holy Mother, the Theotokos and all the Saints, grant us and all people the will to treat all life as sacred. By protecting the Sanctity of Life, may we ever more glorify You, its Source – together with Your eternal Father and Your all-Holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and always, and unto the ages of ages. Amen

As the clergy return to the vesting room/Sanctuary, the choir sings:

Tone 8) I will bless the Lord at all times; ……...And other hymns as necessary. As the people approach for the Veneration of the Cross.


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